BOSTON — For the second year in a row, New Hampshire is the preseason favorite in the Hockey East coaches’ poll. The Wildcats, who have won or shared the last two regular season titles but have never won the postseason title, hope this year’s team’s NCAA aspirations will be realized with only one senior graduated from last season’s roster.
Three-time defending postseason champion Providence was picked second and Boston College was picked third, each for the second straight season. The Friars shared the league regular season title with UNH last season and the Eagles placed fourth in the conference.
Connecticut, last season’s postseason runner-up, placed in a tie for fourth in the poll with Maine. The Huskies’ exceptional results in 2004-05 came despite the coaches picking them fifth in last season’s preseason poll. UConn graduates a number of players from the program’s inaugural class, but the team still returns the league’s Rookie of the Year Jaclyn Hawkins and All-League goalie Kaitlyn Shain. Maine placed fifth last season after being voted fourth in the preseason poll.
Rounding out the poll was Northeastern, who placed sixth in the poll for the third straight season. Only last season did that prediction come true — the Huskies placed fourth in the league two seasons ago. Vermont, who comes over from Hockey East, and new program Boston University placed seventh and eighth, respectively, to round out the poll.